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Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha is an old and famous bak kut teh restaurant in Singapore.
Bak kuh teh is a soup made from simmering pork ribs for many hours with various spices. It directly translates to “meat bone tea” (rou gu cha 肉骨茶). There is also more than one version; there is the Teochew version that is very peppery and has more garlic in it, there is the Hokkien version which is darker because of soy sauce and has a more herbal flavor and there are also other versions in Malaysia particularly in the Klang Valley, but I’ve never been there so I can’t really comment on what the difference is with their bak kuh teh. Most people have a strong preference for one kind versus the others; I prefer the Teochew version as I love the peppery flavor.
The restaurant is located off Keppel Road on the ground floor of this residential building. There isn’t too much décor to the place as it’s kind of a coffee shop setting, but it’s not rundown and it’s clean. The service was fast and efficient and my server was nice as well. I’m not sure how good or not good their English is, but the menu is totally translated into English and they give you a paper checklist, so you just check off what you want.
I found this video of the restaurant which you can see on my blog.
I love boiled peanuts; I never understood why they aren’t more popular in the US. Anyhow, these are stewed in a lu wei 鹵味 sauce, which is a braising technique uses a master stock that is constantly re-used (i.e. they keep filling it up). The peanuts were very soft and had a nice flavor from the lu wei sauce which was slightly sweet and salty. These were a nice condiment. 8.25/10
This is called kiam chye in Teochew I believe. It’s diced up salted that cabbage has been boiled. It’s a bit salty and sweet. It’s a nice condiment as well. 8/10
Bak Kut Teh:
They serve the Teochew style bak kut teh here, which is peppery (think black pepper not like spicy pepper) that I really like. However, some people find it too peppery, so not everyone may like this as much as I do. The broth is very light, not oily or heavy at all and has a great flavor that you can only get by simmering bones for hours. The ribs were quite tender and tasted good although I did sort of mess up because I forgot to ask them for long ribs (chang gu 長骨) as it’s not on the menu and you have to specially ask for it, but the ribs were still nice anyhow. They give you a you tiao (fried crueller) and a dark soy sauce with cut up chili in it. The you tiao wasn’t very good because it wasn’t fresh, so it was a bit soggy. I liked the dark soy sauce with chili in it, but I tried not to use it too much since I thought it overpowers the soup a bit. Overall, I really enjoyed this a lot as it’s the type of thing I could eat every day and be totally happy. Fyi, there are free re-fills of soup. 9/10
Ter kah are pigs feet braised in a lu wei sauce. Here you have the option of getting the lean or fatty kind. Since it was pretty early in the morning I decided to get the lean version. The lean version is much less collagen-y / fatty and had more meat as opposed to collagen. The meat was nicely tender and I like the lu wei sauce which was a bit sweet and salty. This was a nice accompaniment to the bak kuh teh, it would’ve been really good with some rice, but I was going to other places that day so I didn’t want to fill up on rice. Overall, this was quite good and I’d get it again. 8.5/10
I’m not a bak kut teh or ter kah expert, so it’s totally possible there are better places that this (and please tell me if you know them), but I really enjoyed my meal here and this was one of my most satisfying meals this trip along with Sin Huat and Nam Sing.
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